Influence of anisotropy on deterioration of rail materials

Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF) crack initiation is often connected to the accumulation of plastic deformation in the surface layer of rail and wheel. The behaviour and strength of this highly deformed layer are thus key properties of a rail or wheel material. Microhardness and 3D head check crack geometry analyses of the surface layer of a rail (from field) were conducted in project MU24 and the modelling of anisotropic evolution and response of highly deformed pearlitic steel was developed in project MU19. The modelling was validated against wire-drawing results from the literature as well as high-pressure torsion tests and micropillar tests performed at Erich Schmid Institute in Leoben (Austria). A new biaxial tension and torsion testing machine at the Department of Materials and Manufacturing Technology will make it possible to perform laboratory tests on rail and wheel materials in more realistic loading conditions than earlier. Aims of the current project are (1) to find ways to produce anisotropy (by pre-deformation) of the rail material similar to what is found in rails in field, (2) to determine the multiaxial cyclic behaviour of rail steel in the biaxial testing machine, (3) to utilize and further develop cyclic material models from, e g, MU19 that take anisotropy into account, and (4) to analyse crack initiation and formulate crack initiation criteria. The ultimate goal is to increase the understanding of the role of the microstructure development in different rail materials subjected to realistic traffic loading conditions.


Knut Andreas Meyer (contact)

Doktorand vid Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics

Johan Ahlström

Biträdande professor vid Materials Technology

Magnus Ekh

Professor vid Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics



Gothenburg, Sweden



Funding Chalmers participation during 2015–2020

European Commission (Horizon 2020)

Funding Chalmers participation during 2015–2020

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C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)


Materials Science

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